Double Duty Broadhead
By: Kenny Presnell
As with all hunting seasons, you never quite know what to expect. The Archery opener for Zone D was no exception. I always have high hopes of putting meat on the table, but I am just as excited to spend time with family in the outdoors.
The opening weekend my 6-year-old grandson and I headed for the woods. Not only were we on the hunt for deer, but there were a few prized fishing holes that we wanted to drop a line into. We were ready for anything that came our way with our fishing poles, a crossbow, and camera in tow. However, even though we didn't get a deer, we did put a stalk on two does. Just as we got within 60 yards, the stalk was busted by a sly young fox that rustled the bushes. We even saw an leathery-muddied gator laying in the swampy grass and a skiddish little turtle sitting on a log. But this crusty-ole granddaddy and young little whipper-snapper didn't come away from the woods empty-handed. The fish we caught filled our bellies for days!
A few days after my grandson had to leave, I noticed flakes of ash floating through the yard, carried along by the an early autumn breeze. I knew that somewhere in the woods the National Forest Service must be conducting another controlled burn. Just a few weeks ago, there was one such burn not far from my hunt camp.
I figured I needed to check out this situation. If my regular hunting places were burned out, I might need to scout around for other areas. Since it was Archery Season, I carried my crossbow along for the ride - just in case I got lucky. I wasn't far into my hunting grounds and could see that they appeared to be unscathed by the fires. That's not all that I saw. Standing in the woods was a deer completely unaware of my presence. I quietly exited my truck and ranged her at 50 yards broadside. She looked good. After one bolt from my Horton Vision 175 and a 36-yard trail job, I was in possession of a nice, dry doe. It wasn't long before I had the meat in the freezer and one notch on my vane.
The next morning, my daughter Erin paid us a visit at the hunt camp. It had been 14 years since Erin and I had hunted together. We had both looked forward to this time. She quickly reacquainted herself to the woods and the signs to watch for. After traveling about 14 miles into the woods we came upon a doe that leaped into the palmettos before we got near. Further down the road another doe and a little spotted fawn quickly scampered away avoiding their photo shoot.
Not giving up yet, we slowly rolled down the sandy dirt road about 150 more yards. Then there standing amid the prickley palmettos that landscaped the Florida forest was a deer. It stared at us as still as a stuffed deer decoy without even a flicker of it's tail. We stared back. Time stood still. In unison, we grabbed our binoculars. As if on cue, we turned to look at each other, both exclaming, "It's a Buck!" And as if in slow motion Erin put the range finder on him. It was at 66 yards, well within tolerance for the crossbow. While locked in this eerie time warp, we discussed what we were gonna do.
We decided to take his picture! Why in the world, you may ask, did we take his picture? During my years of hunting, I have found that a good reference point can greatly aid in the recovery of a downed animal. A photo is an excellent way to mark this reference point. You can look at the photo and see where the deer was, immediately, prior to the shot. This is, especially, helpful if you are hunting in wildlife management areas in Florida that are thick with palmettos, pines, and underbrush.
I took the picture. The buck continued his fixed gaze as if in a stupor. Erin ranged again. Still at 66 yards The buck had not moved an inch. I got a good steady rest against the truck, while Erin watched through the binoculars. The bolt released and flew through the air lickity-split. On impact, the buck turned and ran. We watched him disappear into the brush.
We took a look at the camera shot that I had just previously taken to see if we could verify through Erin's reference with the binoculars the exact point of impact. She verified that it was a good shot. We waited a good 30 minutes, then went to the point of impact referring again to the photo previously taken. We were able to walk right up to the site of impact. Sure enough, we found blood sign. We followed the blood trail about 45 yards.
Halfway there, we found the bolt. Let me remind you that this is not just any bolt. This is the very same bolt and broadhead that I had used the day before to harvest the doe. This Swhacker Broadhead had done its duty not only once, but twice! All that was required for the second use was to hone the blades and install a new shrink band.
This has been a very good first week of Archery Season in Zone D up here in Northwest Florida. We have already taken enough fish for three days, two deer in two days, and provided food for almost a month for two families. All the while, we enjoyed the great outdoors that God has created, partaking of the animals that He has provided for us to eat, and having great family time together.If any of ya'll want to share your photos or memories, current or previous hunts, please feel free to submit your photos and/or stories at the following link on my website: Submit your Stories HERE. I'd love to hear from ya'll. Bye for now. Good hunting.